Kids are hard, man. My son can go from perfect angelic baby to spawn of satan in 2.5 seconds. Luckily, this doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s the worst. He’s been having a very hard time lately apologizing for his bad behavior, and giving attitude. Yesterday I swear, I tried every parenting tactic in the book. I acknowledged his emotion of anger and said I understood, which seemed to resonate with him, but once he realized he was still grounded from that godforsaken iPad, all hell broke loose all over again. It was terrible.
I was talking about it at work with some of the girls in my office and they all parent differently. One of them made her children do wall squats with a roll of paper towels on their legs. Another told me to take my son to a psychologist. Everyone has an opinion on how to effectively parent. I feel like sometimes it’s overwhelming and discouraging. Then the mom-guilt begins.
“Maybe I don’t give him enough attention”… Maybe I don’t. But you know what? I do my best. No, I don’t sit down and have 2 full hours of quality time with him every single day, but I talk to him about his day on the way home in the car, I make him dinner, I read him a story before bed. Some days it’s all I can do to just make sure he stays alive. Other days I’m super mom and plan fun activities and take pictures with him.
One of my go-to moves when I feel that rush of guilt is to stop whatever I am doing (cooking, cleaning, etc) and have a conversation with my son. 10 minutes or less. I just go see what he’s up to, check on him. It seems silly, but even just peeping into his room and saying “hey, you good buddy?” helps a lot. It also reminds him that Mommy is not too busy for him.
When mom-guilt begins to loom, take a deep breath. Think about the pictures you’ve taken, the temper-tantrums, and the fact that you’re a human being. You cannot be all the things, all the time, all at once. You can, however, take one day at a time and that is perfectly fine. You deserve to be your own person (not attached to the hip of a toddler). You absolutely deserve that piece of cake after dinner, a bubble bath after bed-time stories, whatever you like to pamper yourself or unwind. When Tuesday is a little too much, remember that Wednesday is a new day and you can try again.